“ The strategy of life doesn’t lie in NOT reaching your goals. The strategy lies in having NO GOAL to reach.”
~ Benjamin Mays
Goals, a word often synonymous with career and money, also applies to many other facets in ones’ life. How much thought are you putting into every aspect of your life? If you don’t take the time to consciously decide what you want, how will you ever achieve anything? More importantly, how will you ever achieve happiness? Whether you are in grammar school, college, your fifties, or your eighties you should have goals. The continuous evolution of your goals is what fills your life story with purpose and internal peace and happiness.
The most important step is to allocate time to simply think about what you want to accomplish. Depending on how much thought was previously given to what you want in life, you may be able to write your goals down in an hour, a day, or it might take weeks. You may very well be starting with a blank slate, and have no idea where it is you want to go with your life, but I can assure you simply thinking about things, questioning things, and asking questions will start you on the right path.
STEP #1: WRITE
Take pen to paper and at the top of the paper write the question, “ What makes me happy?” Easy right? This is because your heart and soul intuitively knows what makes you happy without much thought. This is not a college essay. There is no pressure with this, and it should be fun not stressful. Simply write whatever comes to mind. There are no right or wrong answers. Do not worry how this correlates to your goals just yet. Play some music, get in your zone and write. Write for as long as you want.
STEP #2: STREAMLINE THE LIST
Everyone has an innate desire to be happy, and having goals will help you achieve this. Now that you have a list of everything that fills you with joy, you need to streamline the list into categories so you can create an effective plan. Below is an example of one of my client’s list. These are the things that make her happy. The category is in bold.
THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY
- A home filled with love and memories
- Feeling strong and healthy
- Listening to music
- Being in a loving relationship
- Working in a career I LOVE and achieving tremendous success
- Taking photos
- Traveling the world
STEP # 3 ORGANIZE THE STEPS
Now you need to think about how to make each of these things a reality? This exercise is all about organizing the steps needed to achieve the things that makes you happy. This is the fuel to bringing these categories to life, so they don’t just sit on a piece of paper. Below is an example of how to organize the steps needed to achieve your goals and YOUR HAPPINESS.
1. A home filled with love and memories
- Organize my home in 1 year by doing one project at a time
- Organize all the family photos * This is at the top of my list!
- Tidy up the house using Christina’s 8 minute rule every night before bed.
- Hang up family photos that make me smile. Buy really pretty frames and pick out my favorite family photos.
- Redecorate the living room.
- Hang up new curtains.
- Create an effective file system so I don’t feel overwhelmed by papers.
- Plan to have at least 3 gatherings a year with friends over.
- Organize all my keepsakes.
2. Feeling strong and healthy
- Go to yoga two times a week.
- Lift weights two times a week – See if working with a personal trainer is possible.
- Stick to 1 cheat meal a week so I do not deprive myself.
- Meditate before bed for 20 minutes.
3. Listening to music
- Organize all my music.
- Go through my old CD’s, transfer to iTunes and then throw them out.
- Purchase a cable to connect my cell phone to the car so I can listen to music every day.
4. Being in a loving relationship
- Write down a list of things we want to do as a couple.
- Plan four date nights a month.
- Organize all our keepsakes so we can look at them when we are old and gray.
- Take the time to do something special for my love.
5. Working in a career I LOVE and achieving tremendous success
- Start researching other careers I can apply to so I can work in an environment I love.
- Decide EXACTLY how much I want to earn in a year and aim for that number!
- Start connecting with other professionals on LinkedIn.
- Go to 2 networking events a month to meet people in the field I wish to be in.
- Apply to 10 jobs a week.
6. Taking photos
- Schedule one Sunday out of the month to explore a new place and take lots of photographs!
- Visit the camera store and invest in a better camera.
7. Travel the world
- Figure out a plan to save money every month for a “travel fund.”
- Make a list of places I want to travel.
- Write down my top 3 places to travel.
- Write down my DREAM destination I want to travel to once in my life.
- Make a list of local destinations to visit because there is so much to see locally.
Do these three steps, and you will be ahead of most people because you know exactly what you want! Notice how many steps are listed under each topic that makes this person happy. It takes organization and planning to determine all you have to do. You might not realize how many goals you really have until you take the time to write it all out. That home project of hanging up family photos might have taken 10 years to do (maybe never) if you did not write this list. Benjamin Mays said it best. Knowing what you want, and having a goal is the most important thing. Thinking about what makes you happy, streamlining these things into categories, and then writing down how to ensure they become a reality is the recipe to organizing your goals and achieving happiness. When you know what you are working towards, it takes the cloud of confusion away. So many people walk around not knowing what they want, what is missing in their life, how to be happy, and what their goals are. Take the time to organize your goals and your soul will be filled with so much happiness. Knowing is the first step to accomplishing your best life ever!